“Mental” or “Minstrel Mind Control”

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“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every Saturday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you: ‘Minstrel Mind Control’!”


[The curtain rises on a spotlighted set made to resemble Will Scarlet’s bedroom, complete with faux stone walls, ornate rug, canopied bed, and elegant wardrobe standing in the corner. Sporting bright red headphones, Will’s jamming out in the setting’s center to music nobody can hear when Allyn-a-Dale enters, stage left.]

Allyn: Will.

Will: [continues dancing, apparently oblivious]

Allyn [louder, closer, waving his arms]: WILL.

Will: [still dancing, still oblivious]

Allyn [clasps hands behind his back; speaks at a conversational volume]: Pizza.

Will [yanking off the headphones]: Whoo! Where? Cheese in the crust?!

Allyn: Perhaps you misheard me. I said, “Will.”

Will: Oh. That’s not the same as pizza.

Allyn: Not entirely, no. But now I have your attention, I think it’s time we spoke about our weekly skits.

Will: Yeah? What about them?

Allyn: Following review of the scripts you’ve written to date, I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that you’re out of your mind.

Will [laughing]: You’re a bit late, Allyn. That hasn’t been front page material since the Middle Ages.

Allyn: Or, put more precisely, your mind is out of control. If you must carry on like a jester on no one knows which questionable substances, would you not rather it be because you’ve chosen to, rather than because you’re a maniac who couldn’t act sane if he tried?

Will: Sanity is highly overrated.

Allyn [taking Will’s hand in his own]: Will. Let me help you. I know a thing or two about discipline of the mind. Step outside with me. I’ve got an idea.

[The light moves with them from the bedroom set into an area with a background of trees, the stage floor covered in artificial snow.]

Will: All right, minstrel, what’s the plan?

Allyn: I’m going to bury you.

Will [startling back]: Your idea of mental discipline is murder??

Allyn: Alive in the snow, Will. I’ll cover you with cold, and you will focus on convincing yourself you feel warm.

Will: Oh. Shall I strip down first? Make it a real challenge?

Allyn: I’m in charge of costuming, this once. Keep your proper clothes on.

Will [toward the audience]: I tried, ladies.

[Grabbing a shovel leaning against a tree, Allyn covers Will neck to foot in snow.]

Will: Lord Almighty, it’s bloody frigid!

Allyn: Naturally. Now, concentrate. Think warm thoughts. A sandy beach. A summer ocean. Burning for lack of suntan lotion.

Will: I’d applaud the rhyme if I weren’t dying of hypothermia. Of all the harebrained schemes that didn’t come from me, Allyn! As if this could ever work. No one can do this!

Allyn: I can.

Will: Oh, you can, can you? And just when did you have occasion to cultivate such a skill? Kept your eye out for blizzards in which to get in some practice?

Allyn: I learned this skill as I learned most every other: Traveling with Father.

Will [jerking upright indignantly]: He buried you in the snow and told you to figure out how not to freeze?!

Allyn: No. But neither did he seem to recognize the existence of winter coats. I’ve been cold. I’ve been hungry. I’ve been footsore after miles of marching o’er hill and dale, and finger-sore after hours of drills upon my lute. And it trained me to think of other things so I could bear it. It’s made me the man I am today.

Will [grimly]: Yes, I daresay it has. [rises to his feet and places a hand on Allyn’s shoulder] And while I love that little man with all his screwed-up psychology, I’m more interested in the man you’ll be in days to come. And to get there, you need at the very least two things: More substance-abusing jester skits, and a whole lot of pizza. Let me help you. I know a thing or two about being warm, fed, and slaphappy with friends.

Allyn [with a quiet smile]: Friendship is the one thing I know I’ll never have to teach you.

Will [hugging Allyn]: Because your being here already has.


“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Susan Francino and Steven Bourelle,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘someone gets buried under snow’ and ‘beach/warm ocean/suntan lotion’”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! Until next week, friends! Will and Allyn out!”

“Not next week, actually.”

“What? No? Why not?”

Allyn shrugs. “Something about some big deal of a special post on Friday, and Danielle not wishing us to crowd it.”

“What sort of a special post?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“What sort of surprise?”

Allyn cranes up to whisper in Will’s ear.

“Oh-h-h,” says Will, understanding dawning. “Ri-i-ight. That’s happening. Got little enough to do with us, but have it her way, seeing as some might argue it’s her blog. AMENDMENT: Until week after next, friends! Will and Allyn out for realzies!”

6 thoughts on ““Mental” or “Minstrel Mind Control”

    • “The surprise,” Allyn says, “is to be revealed on Friday.”
      “Hint!” cries Will, pointing at Allyn’s statement above. “That’s totally a hint!”
      “Is it?” says Allyn, noncommittally. “I suppose time may tell. As for your sympathies, Miranda, that’s very sweet of you. It wasn’t really so terrible…”
      “Well, in any case, I survived. And what doesn’t kill you–”
      “Scars you for life?”
      “All right, I’m done here.”

  1. Love it!!! Very impressed that you managed to work two such contrary prompts into the same skit. 🙂 And…hm…the first thing I looked at was a box of tissues, so how’s that for a prop?

    • “Box of tissues — got it,” says Will, jotting it down. “And thanks! Yeah, you should have seen my face when I first realized what we’d be forced to work with, this week. Like, ‘hoo, boy, how in the world do we pull this one off?’ Glad our final product met with your approval. You know we do it all for you, Susan Francino. X)”

  2. “following review… I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that you’re out of your mind.” I can so hear someone telling my dear Robin that, lol. Not that it’s news, is it? And pounding their head against the nearest tree when they have about as much success in changing that as Allyn does Will. But hey, who’d want to change ’em anyway?

    • Allyn sighs and shakes his head, a fond smile on his lips. “I suppose I really wouldn’t. What is love, after all, without a little exasperation thrown in?”

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